The most fun day of med school—that’s how many rising M3 students describe technical skills day, one of the last days of the two-week ‘’boot camp’’ to prepare for the upcoming year of hospital rotations. Moving around from labs to classrooms, it’s a golden chance to learn from professionals. Who knew that you would have to be able to suture not only using your hands but also holding instruments?  (What?!)

One demonstration was for the infamous NG (nasogastric) tube, nemesis of patients everywhere who dread having one stuck up their nose. Some might consider it as bad as the bowel obstruction that caused them to need it—but not if they were lucky enough to be a patient of Lauren Fredrickson, M.D., clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine. As the students learned from this experienced physician, it’s possible to tell a patient, and mean it, “This is going to be uncomfortable but you’re going to feel a whole lot better afterward.’’ 

 “Need your tube, need your lube,’’ sang out the doctor as she picked up the lubricant that helps slide the tube up the nose. (Clearly, she’s demonstrated this procedure this a few times.) “Go too short with the tube and it’ll go into the esophagus,” she cautioned as she prepared to thread it into the mannequin’s nostril.

“What’s the best position to hold the head?’’ asked one student. Dr. Fredrickson (pictured at left below with students) tilted the mannequin’s head down slightly.

“When you’re in surgery, ask to watch the surgical nurse do this. They have their tricks—everyone does,’’ said Dr. Fredrickson, cheering the students with the advice, ’’Watch, and then go do it yourself!’’

Student reflections of the two-week transitional experience are coming soon. 

Lauren Frederickson, M.D. and students

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